A mild evening welcomed those South Coast
funsters, who proceeded to take advantage of our generosity to take a
hatful of goals that must have impressed the watching managers and
scouts from a number of clubs. Luckily for Spurs, the lack-lustre
performance will not mean they will be beating a path to Frank Arnesen's
door, so the loss might well have been tactical !!
The gathered galaxy of the management of
a large cluster of clubs indicated that it was transfer window time and
that they were looking for a loan. Even Harry Redknapp came to see
if he could steal a few more decent players from us, but might have been
happier with what he has in reserve !!
The game started with Spurs kicking off
and they lined up with new signings Limbersky and Hallfredsson in
midfield to face a quite experienced SCBC side. However, the
sharpness of the players in the visiting side and their more precise
passing showed that they may have had more football over the Christmas
and New Year period. The new faces might also have unsettled the
balance of the team, as changes took place not long into the match, as
Clive Allen despaired at what he was watching.
After just four minutes, Marton Fulop had
our hearts in our mouths, as he dropped a routine cross from a corner,
but the ball fell to Yahia and he shot wide of the crowded goalmouth.
SCBC passed the ball wide and attacked Tottenham down the flanks, but
the midfield failed to produce a challenge to SCBC and the defence were
pressed back by the attacks made upon them. Matthew Oakley fired a
shot well over from 25 yards, before Mark Yeates did the same at the
other end, but with greater threat, as his shot swerved and dipped,
skimming the bar on the way over.
As the ball was worked through the centre
of the Tottenham defence, Baird drove in a low shot that was saved and
in the 13th minute a long right wing cross to the far post, was headed
back into the goalmouth and Richards was alert to knock the ball out for
a corner before any SCBC player reacted. From the corner, Mills
won a free header, but put his header wide. This warning was not
heeded, as in the next minute, when another corner came in Mills made no
mistake with a downward header to give the Saints the lead.
Some neat inter-passing opened Spurs up
on the left side of the box and although Oakley got a shot in, it was
simple for Fulop to hold it. But then in the 24th minute, a
through ball into the box found Blackstock latching onto it and slip the
ball across Defendi as he closed him down and past Fulop for 2-0.
This all got a lot worse in the 36th
minute when Blackstock showed the art of good forward play in getting
onto a low cross in from the right wing to touch the ball in at the near
post, getting ahead of his marker.
Spurs finished the half stronger, with
Hallfredsson crossing from the left to the far post, where Limbersky
waited and his shot was blocked. Then, five minutes before the
break, the Icelandic winger hit a shot that was deflected over the bar.
The half-time break saw a number of the
managers making detailed notes, but I cannot imagine many were about the
Spurs players. Clive Allen had expressed his frustration by
banging on the side of the dug-out, but there were no changes when the
sides came out for the second half.
First-teamer Jo Tessem had been quiet in
the first half, but eight minutes into the half, after Jamie O'Hara had
given the ball away, he turned Rodrigo Defendi and struck a fierce shot
that left Fulop well beaten for the fourth Saints goal from 20 yards.
With 57 minutes gone, the ball ricocheted
off a Spurs defender and fell to Surman, who had the easy task of
putting the ball away. Well, it was easier than the decision the
linesman had to make as he raised his flag to signify offside ...
wrongly, as the ball had come off a Tottenham player and therefore, he
could not have been offside !!
Chances were made at each end.
Yeates set up Bunjy, but his shot went wide. Surman hit over from
25 yards, while the closest Spurs got was in the 67th minute, when Smith
in the SCBC goal dropped an Ifil cross, but Barnard was ahead of the
ball and the keeper grabbed it before the Spurs striker could get to it.
SCBC's sub McGoldrick caused all sorts of
problems for the Tottenham defence. He produced a neat step-over,
but then curled his shot about 15 yards wide and in injury time, he hit
a shot off the bar and over, with Blackstock pulling a save with Fulop's
legs as the goalie came out to baulk him.
It was one of the poorest reserve
performances I can recall in a long time and Allen will be upset that
the side has started 2005 in this manner. Having said that, the
loss of players who were regulars in the side to loan moves or call-ups
to the first team squad made this a lightweight side, but the
development coach will be looking for an improvement when they travel to
Crystal Palace for their next match in the reserve league.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - DEAN